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Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online

While Italy isn't ready to swear off paperwork just yet, there are a growing number of official matters that you can get done online.

Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online
Doing admin online is getting easier in Italy - slowly. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Dealing with the patchwork of national, regional and municipal offices that make up Italy’s public administration is without a doubt one of the downsides of daily life here.

And for foreign residents, the extra immigration procedures, language barriers and unfamiliarity can make the whole thing that much harder to navigate – especially if you don’t live in Italy full-time.

The good news is that Italy is trying – slowly – to move more of its administration online, a task more urgent than ever amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

While we can’t save you from the admin itself, we’ve looked for ways you can save yourself a trip in person by doing basic Italian bureaucracy over the internet. 

Make appointments for essential visits

Ok, so there are still many things you can only do in person in Italy – like registering your residency for the first time, requesting an ID card or applying for an Italian passport.

But that doesn’t mean you have to turn up when the office opens and settle in for a long wait. Check online booking system TuPassi to seek if you can make an appointment for the service you need. 

To apply for an ID card, book an appointment at your comune via the Interior Ministry’s website. Or if you’re an Italian citizen and you need a passport, you can book an appointment here to drop off your application and give your fingerprints at the local police station.

Get a digital ID (SPID)

Italy’s ‘Public Digital Identity System’ or Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale (SPID for short) is the digital equivalent of a passport: a personal, verified ID that you can use to identify yourself when doing anything official online.

You’ll need it to login to many official websites as well as the government’s public services app IO, so it should be one of the first things you tackle if you plan to do admin remotely. Alternatively you may be able to use your electronic ID card (CIE) plus your smartphone to login: find out how here.

Getting your SPID involves applying via one of the companies accredited by the government to provide it, and while the process varies by provider, some allow you to do the entire verification process from home. Click here for a full guide.

READ ALSO: What’s the IO app and what can you use it for?

Photo: IO.italia.it

Get a certified email address (PEC)

You’re probably familiar by now with Italian officials’ fondness for requesting that important correspondence be sent by registered post. But you can save yourself trips to the post office by using the digital equivalent: ‘Electronic Certified Mail’, or Posta Elettronica Certificata (PEC).

It’s basically an email account that you have to show official ID to set up. Messages you send from it are certified with a date and time stamp to show when you sent it and when it was received, and they have the same legal value as a physical lettera raccomandata (registered letter).  

You can get your own PEC address – for a monthly or yearly fee – from one of the official providers listed here.

Get a digital signature

While some bureacrats will no doubt insist on handwritten signatures until the end of time, Italian law recognizes electronic signatures on several important legal documents, including employment contracts, commercial agreements, certain public deeds, and others. 

Several companies are accredited to provide legally valid digital signing services in Italy, which add a two-step verification process when you sign a document electronically. Find a list here

Calculate your codice fiscale

Your codice fiscale or tax code is a personal identification code you can be asked for in Italy for all sorts of things, from opening a bank account to paying bills or even shopping online.

READ ALSO: Codice fiscale: How to get your Italian tax code

If you don’t already have one you’ll need to go to your local tax office, if you’re in Italy, or your nearest Italian consulate if you’re overseas. But in the meantime, since the code is generated according to your name, gender and date and place of birth, it’s possible to work out what it will be. Use an online tool like this one to figure out yours.

Note that you’ll still need to ask the Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) to assign you a code, even if it ends up being identical to the one you calculated. A codice fiscale calculated online is not official and may be incorrect.


You can’t always avoid a trip to the Italian tax office, but you can at least make an appointment. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Change your residency within Italy

If you move to Italy from overseas, the first time you register your residency will involve visiting the anagrafe (registry office) in person. 

READ ALSO: Italian residency: Who needs it and how do you get it?

But it gets easier from there. If you’re moving within Italy, many comuni now allow you to notify them of your new address by email (in fact, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the only way some registry offices are accepting residency requests).

Check your local comune‘s website for a dichiarazione di residenza (‘declaration of residency’) form and send a completed copy, along with scans of the necessary proof of address and ID, to the email address indicated. In some cases you may be required to send the application by PEC.

Request official certificates

Italy is gradually digitalising its vast database of official records and, depending on how advanced your local registry office is, you may well be able to request certificates of residency, marriage and birth or other important documents online.

Visit your comune‘s website to find out if they offer you this option. If so, you’ll probably need to login securely using either a SPID or CIE, then request the certificate, pay the marca da bollo (stamp fee) if you want a version that includes an official stamp of certification, and download the document as a PDF.

Apply for Italian citizenship

Once you’ve gathered all the documents you need to apply for Italian citizenship, you can apply online via this official portal, attaching scans of the relevant documents along with the application form and a receipt for the application fee, paid by bank transfer to the Interior Ministry.

READ ALSO: 

If your submission is accepted, you’ll be summoned to your nearest police headquarters (if you’re in Italy) or consulate (if you’re abroad) to show the original documents and sign the application in person.

Log back in to the same website to check the status of your application.

Apply for a nulla osta for a work or family reunification visa

Employers who want to hire a non-EU national, or non-EU residents in Italy who want to bring over their dependents, can request an entry authorisation called a nulla osta from the Interior Ministry using this website. The nulla osta then allows the applicant to request a visa from their nearest Italian consulate. 

You can use the same website to apply to convert a student visa into a work visa, or to book the language test you need to pass to apply for a permanent residence permit. 

Check on the status of your residency permit application

If you’ve applied for a permesso di soggiorno, you can check how your request is advancing by entering the file number or registered mail code on the State Police’s website

Access your healthcare records

If you’re registered with Italy’s national health service, the SSN, you can consult your own records online via what the government calls a fascicolo sanitario elettronico or ‘electronic health record’. You’ll find the details of care you received at both public and private facilities, if they’re connected with the regional health system.

The service is available in every region of Italy: find a link to electronic records in your region here. Most require a SPID or CIE to log in.

READ ALSO: Who can register for national healthcare in Italy?

Since Italy’s regions each control their own health systems, it varies considerably which other healthcare services you can access online. Eventually the goal is to allow every patient in Italy to book doctors’ appointments online and/or via app, switch GPs and pay medical bills over the internet, get prescriptions in electronic form and consult doctors remotely.

Several regions offer at least some of these services already: try searching “Servizio Sanitario Regionale” + the name of your region to find out what is available where you are. If you’re looking specifically for an online booking service, search “Centro unico di prenotazione” or “CUP” along with your the name of your region.


Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Replace a lost health card

You can’t apply for your tessera sanitaria online, nor can you renew it online once it expires – more’s the pity.

READ ALSO: Tessera sanitaria: How do you apply for or renew your Italian health card?

But if you’ve mislaid or damaged your card while it’s still in date, you can order a replacement via the Revenue Agency’s website. You’ll need to log in using a SPID or CIE, or your existing credentials if you have them.

Register for social security, check your records and apply for benefits

All contributors to Italy’s welfare system can check their social security records by logging in to the National Social Security Institute (INPS) website using a SPID or CIE.

If you’re not registered with INPS via an employer but are eligible to pay social security contributions on income in Italy, you can register yourself online here.

You can also apply for a number of benefits online, including:

Find a full list of INPS services available online here

Declare and pay your taxes

Register on the Revenue Agency’s website and you should be able to calculate, declare, pay, check and claim back your taxes online. You can use a SPID or CIE to log in.

Find a full list of online services available here. If what you need isn’t available, you can book an appointment to speak to your nearest tax office in person.

If you’re an employee in Italy and file a pre-filled income tax return (Form 730), you can also access a dedicated portal here

Cancel your TV licence fee

The TV licence fee is automatically added to electricity bills in Italy, so if you don’t own a TV or are exempt (because you’re over 75 and have very little income, for instance), you’ll need to opt out. 

READ ALSO: How to pay or cancel your Italian TV licence fee

That involves filling out a form and submitting it to the tax office – which you can do online, if you’re registered on the Revenue Agency’s website. You can also use the service to request a refund if you’ve been wrongly charged the licence fee. 

Calculate and pay your vehicle tax

Car owners can find out how much regional or provincial vehicle tax (bollo auto) they owe using this online tool from Italian drivers’ association ACI. 

Most drivers can pay it online too, though the service isn’t yet available in every region: register on ACI’s website to get started.

ACI also offers a number of other online options to check records, order certificates and calculate costs that are useful if you’re buying or selling a car, or driving for work: find a full list here.

Sign up for cashback from the government

As a way to boost consumer spending and encourage electronic payments, the last government launched a cashback scheme that allows shoppers to earn 10 percent of their spending back if they pay by card.

READ ALSO:

You can register for the scheme using either one of Italy’s payment apps or the government app IO – though purchases will only count if they’re made in person, not online. Find our full guide here.

Check property registry records

If you’re buying, selling or paying tax on property in Italy, you might find yourself in need of cadastral records – a register of property ownership and value.

These are available online via the Revenue Agency’s website, where you can request information on  ownership, boundaries, building plans, classification, mortgage status and more. You can also order certificates and apply to correct any errors in your property’s cadastral records. Learn more here.

Access company records and send electronic invoices

Registered business owners can store digital copies of all their company records on the Italian Chambers of Commerce’s Impresa.Italia website. The Chambers also have a separate website you can use to send, receive and store electronic invoices. Both services are free, accessible using a SPID, and can be linked up.

If you’re looking for another company’s records, meanwhile, you can search the Chambers of Commerce online database (access basic information for free, or pay to register for complete records). 


Save yourself a wait at the Post Office by doing more admin online. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

For any services managed by regional or municipal authorities, like health care and schooling, more options are available in some parts of Italy than others: it depends what your regione or comune has transferred online.

Check your local authority’s website to find out what you can access where you are. 

Is there an important online service we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll update this list. 

Member comments

  1. As non residents with a holiday home in Italy (which we pay IMU and TARI on) – is it even possible to get a SPID or CIE? We have codice fiscali. Everything I read suggests you have to be resident or an Italian non-resident. Grateful for any advice as online servicing for taxes etc would be super useful!

  2. Hi Nicola – I don’t have an answer to your question, but if you do find some good advice on this topic I would be very grateful if you could share back here! My husband and I have the same question that you do 🙂

  3. Good Morning. We have had a house in Umbria for 32 years and are UK residents. We have been trying for months to get an appointment at the Consulate in London to apply for a long stay visa. Has anyone got any tips? We can’t find a way of filing documents to at least get the ball rolling. There are no slots available to book in for an interview. If we crack it I will let the community know! Thank you.

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For members

ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP

Reader question: Will my children get an Italian passport if born in Italy?

Obtaining Italian citizenship is not a simple matter even if you are born here, as there are many obstacles to overcome. This is what you should know about the complex process of naturalisation.

Reader question: Will my children get an Italian passport if born in Italy?

It is natural that people who are settled in Italy would want their children to have Italian citizenship.

Unlike many other countries, however, merely being born in Italy doesn’t mean the person is Italian.

If their parents were born abroad and still hold foreign passports, children will not obtain Italian citizenship at birth. 

This may sound unfair to someone coming from, say, the United States, but Italy doesn’t (in the vast majority of cases) recognise so-called “birthright citizenship” (jus soli) which would automatically grant an Italian passport to anyone born here.

Even kids who have lived here their entire lives and consider themselves to be Italian will have the same nationality as their parents and will continue to be considered foreigners by the Italian state – until and unless they become naturalised.

Some Italian politicians and political parties, particularly from the Democratic Party, are pushing for a relaxation of the rules, however at present they remain in place. 

Who is entitled to an Italian passport at birth?

Children born to Italian-citizen parents, or at least one parent who is Italian, will be automatically considered citizens of Italy by a process known as “acquisition by descent”, or jus sanguinis.

READ ALSO: How British nationals can claim Italian citizenship by descent

This applies as much to children born abroad as it does to those born in Italy.

A foreign child adopted by Italian parent(s) is subject to the same rules.

What happens if both parents are foreign nationals?

There are several scenarios to consider if you would like your child (or future child) to be Italian.

If you don’t have children yet but have a permit that allows you to permanently reside in Italy, you could apply for naturalisation after living in the country for a set number of years.

For most foreigners, ten years is the minimum length of time they will need to have lived in Italy before they become eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalisation. That period is reduced to four years for EU nationals, and five years for refugees.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between Italian residency and citizenship?

If you become naturalised before the child is born (even if you still retain the citizenship of your former country), then he or she will be automatically Italian at birth.

If the child was born before the parent naturalised, they still automatically become an Italian citizen at the same time as the parent does – provided they are under the age of 18 and living with the naturalised parent.

“It is irrelevant that the birth occurred before or after the submission of the application for citizenship,” Giuditta De Ricco, head citizenship lawyer at the immigration firm Mazzeschi, told The Local.

Those children whose parents become Italian citizens after they turn 18, however, will need to file their own citizenship application.

For children born in Italy to foreign parents, the requirements are strict: they must reside in Italy ‘without interruption’ until the age of 18 and submit a statement of their intent to apply for citizenship within one year of their eighteenth birthday.

However, children who were born in Italy, moved away, and moved back as adults can apply for citizenship after just three continuous years of legal residency in the country – so being born on Italian soil does have some advantages when it comes to acquiring citizenship.

The Italian Air Force aerobatic unit performs on April 25, 2020, Italy's 75th Liberation Day, over the Altare della Patria monument in Rome.

The Italian Air Force aerobatic unit performs on April 25, 2020, Italy’s 75th Liberation Day, over the Altare della Patria monument in Rome. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

What happens if the parents are of different nationalities?

If the child’s parents are of different nationalities that are treated differently by the Italian state (if, for example, one parent is French and the other American), the child will be subject to the least stringent applicable naturalisation requirements. 

This means that if a child has one French and one American parent, they will be subject to French (EU) rules and eligibility periods when applying for naturalisation as an Italian citizen.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can I have residency in Italy and another country?

A French parent can apply for Italian citizenship on their own behalf after four years of residency in Italy, and “minor children will be automatically Italian, once the parent takes the oath,” confirms De Ricco.

Usually all that’s required is that the parent produces the children’s birth certificates, although in some cases children will also be asked to attend the oath-taking ceremony with their parent.

Bear in mind that it’s important to consider whether the child’s country/ies of origin allow for dual or triple citizenship, and if not, whether you would be willing to renounce your child’s citizenship of another country in order for them to obtain Italian citizenship.

What if I moved to Italy when my children were already born?

If two non-citizens move to Italy when their children were already born, naturalisation is the means through which they may be able to gain citizenship. 

In recent years some Italian parliamentarians have proposed a ius culturae basis for citizenship – that is, acquiring citizenship via cultural assimilation, on the understanding that children quickly adapt to the culture of their country of residence.

A bill put forward by Democratic Party MP Laura Boldrini would allow children under the age of ten who have lived in Italy for at least five years and completed one school year to apply for citizenship, as well as those who arrived in Italy under the age of ten and have lived continuously in Italy up to the age of 18 (and submit their statement of intent before they turn 19). 

This bill has yet to pass in Italy, however, so there are currently no such fast-tracks in place for foreign minors born outside of the country.

What about citizenship for the third generation?

Italy is particularly lenient when it comes to awarding citizenship to foreign citizens with Italian ancestry.

Anyone who can prove they had an Italian ancestor who was alive in 1861, when Italy became a nation, or since then, can become an Italian citizen via jus sanguinis (provided the ancestor in question did not renounce their citizenship).

And this leniency also extends to those who prefer to become citizens through naturalisation – if you had an Italian parent or grandparent, you just need three years of legal residency in the country to acquire citizenship in this way.

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